Women’s Volleyball Splits Saturday Contests at Harvard Invitational

Senior Grace Roberts Burbank receives a dig.
Photo by: Gil Talbot
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Wrapping up the Harvard Invitational its in season-opening weekend, the Harvard women's volleyball team (2-1, 0-0 Ivy) split its final two contests of the tournament today, Sept. 7. The Crimson closed out the night with a 3-1 victory over Rhode Island, after falling to Colgate, 3-1, earlier in the day. Following the tournament, senior Sope Adeleye and junior Sandra Zeng from the Crimson were named to the All-Tournament team for their strong contributions throughout the Invitational.

Harvard vs. Colgate
Despite fighting its way back in the third set to force a decisive fourth, the Crimson dropped a 3-1 decision to the Raiders to open the day. Senior co-captain Evelyn Gray dominated Harvard's attack, registering a career-high 14 kills and .276 hitting percentage. Adding to the Crimson's offensive efforts, sophomore Jaimie Rao posted eight kills, while junior Mindie Mabry and senior Grace Roberts Burbank tallied seven each. Sophomore Bella Almanza and first-year Ashley Wang continue to lead in assists, each handing out 18 helpers apiece.

Defensively, junior Sandra Zeng led the back court with 12 digs, while Roberts Burbank contributed seven. At the net, senior Sope Adeleye topped the Crimson lineup for the second-consecutive night, putting up a team-high seven blocks. First-year Ava Rauser and Gray followed closely behind, each notching five blocks.

Harvard Highlights
- In a dominant third set, the Crimson held the Raiders to a .000 hitting percentage.
- Battling through a gritty opening set, Harvard hit at a match-high .324 clip.  

Harvard vs. Rhode Island
The Crimson concluded the Harvard Invitational on a high note with a strong 3-1 win over Rhode Island to close out the day. The Crimson topped the Rams by set scores of 23-25, 25-15, 25-21 and 25-21. For the second-consecutive match, Evelyn Gray led the Crimson attack with a team-high 13 kills, her second-straight match with double-digit kills. Following closely behind, seniors Sope Adeleye and Grace Roberts Burbank joined Gray in double figures, each posting 12 kills apiece. First-year Ava Rauser posted a team-high .600 hitting percentage off of seven kills and just one error, while Adeleye set a new career-high, hitting at a .550 clip. Aiding the Crimson's offense, the duo of Ashley Wang and Bella Almanza continues to dominate, dishing out 24 and 22 assists, respectively.

Junior Sandra Zeng led the way defensively for the third-consecutive match, registering a team-high 14 digs. Mindie Mabry had her hand at both ends of the court, notching 13 digs and a near double-double with nine kills. Adding to Harvard's dominant defense, Rauser put up a team-best seven blocks, while Gray collected four.

The Crimson outhit the Rams .343 to .229 and won the blocking battle 16 to six to help seal the victory.

Harvard Highlights
- The Crimson registered hitting percentages over .300 in each set against the Rams, with a match-high .353 in set two.
- Almanza added a team-high three service aces to her tally, bringing her total to nine on the season after just three matches.
- Harvard improves to 2-1 on the season after its opening weekend of competition.

Up Next
Harvard will travel to U.C. Santa Barbara for the UCSB Invitational next weekend, Sept. 13-14. The Crimson will face La Salle on Friday, Sept. 13 at 6 p.m. EST, before taking on San Diego at 1 p.m. EST and host U.C. Santa Barbara at 10 p.m. EST on Saturday, Sept. 14.